Shirley Jacksons The Lottery

Shirley JacksonS The Lottery Shirley Jacksons, The Lottery, has raised questions in the back of every readers mind towards the destructive yet blind rituals of mankind. A reflection of ourselves is what we see when looking through the pond of Jacksons mind. The Lottery clearly expressed Jacksons feelings concerning traditional rituals through her story, opened the eyes of its readers to properly classify and question some of todays traditions as cruel, and allowed room to foretell the outcome of these unusual traditions. Jacksons feelings towards the misuse of tradition as an excuse to cause harm have triggered her creativity for the creation of The Lottery. Jackson obviously saw examples of this misuse of tradition and ingeniously placed it into an exaggerated situation to let us see how barbaric our actions are.

The townspeople, in the story, all come together for the annual lottery; however, in an interesting twist, those participating stone the winner to death. Everyone in the story seems horribly uncivilized yet they can easily be compared to todays society. Perhaps Jackson was suggesting the coldness and lack of compassion the human race can exhibit in situations regarding tradition and values. The People who were stoned to death represented values and good being as the townspeople, who represented society, cold-heartedly destroyed them ( Jackson 79 ). Immediately after reading The Lottery, one can compare the ritual, in the story, to some of todays barbaric traditions in a new point of view. Hazing is a tradition that has been around forever. Some people do not see anything wrong with giving a new person a hard time; however, this ritual has caused numerous deaths and countless injuries all over the world.

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Hazing is a ritual performed in high schools, gangs, colleges, and even your own best friend can be in on it. Perhaps just as barbaric as the stoning, no good at all results from hazing. The running of the bulls, in Italy, may also be compared to The Lottery. Many deaths have been cause by the bulls running ramped through the streets, yet this tradition is not about to be abolished due to the endless support of participators along with media and tourists. What does it take to end these cruel and misunderstood traditions and evolve into a more civilized society where we can see what kind of harm they cause? In the story, the townspeople were against abolishing the tradition of stoning and if our society feels the same, there will never be a chance for our civilization to grow together. What ever happened to the townspeople in this story? Could they have finally given in and abolished the lottery for the next year? Perhaps they never did abolish the lottery and eventually destroyed each other on a wide-scale basis.

Any way you chose to compare the situations, our future depends heavily upon the allowance of evolution through our present standpoints and how we select to alter it. Human nature will prevail no matter what our society wants to alter; however, who is to say that human nature is a violent one without compassion for fellow spirit? Shirley Jacksons story outlined more than just a cruel tradition; it outlined the essence of evolution upon a civilization and the human race. English Essays.

Shirley Jacksons The Lottery

Shirley JacksonS The Lottery Shirley Jacksons The Lottery, raises many questions in the back of a readers mind towards the destructive yet blind rituals of mankind. The Lottery clearly expresses Jacksons feelings concerning mankinds evil nature hiding behind traditions and rituals. She shows how coldness and lack of compassion in people can exhibit in situations regarding tradition and values. Jackson presents the theme of the short story with the use of symbols and setting. The setting of The Lottery supports the theme. Settings are constructed to help build the mood and foreshadow things to come.

In the lottery though, the setting foreshadows exactly the opposite of what is to come. The story begins with a description of a seemingly cheerful environment. Jackson creates a comfortable atmosphere by describing the activities of the residents of the town. She describes children breaking into boisterous play and their talk still of the classroom (310). Men and women are gathered in the center of the town talking about farming and taxes or into gossip. The date of the story is June twenty-seventh which Helen E.

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Nebeker states in American Literature, has symbolic overtones which alerts us to the season of the summer solstice with all its overtones of ancient ritual (102). Jacksons description of the setting supports the theme of the story by showing how mankind is capable of cruel acts regardless of their environment. Symbolism in the story also supports the theme of The Lottery. The very names of the characters in the story are laden with meaning. The names of Summers, Graves, Warner, Delacroix and Hutchinson hint at the true nature of the characters. Mrs. Delacroixs name means of the cross in Latin; therefore hinting at Tessies sacrificial killing.

Even tough Mrs. Delacroix seems to be a friend to Mrs. Hutchinson it is she who is shown to pick up the largest rock and promotes other people to stone Tessie. Mr. Summers name symbolizes life but in reality it is he who is in charge of the lottery which instead of giving life to its winner it gives death.

Graves is the man who carries in the black box and the three-legged stool. His name hints to what will happen to Tessie Hutchinson. It is also from Mr. Graves whom the citizens get the papers from, therefore it is almost like he is the one who has the most influence over whose grave it will be next. Old Man Warner, as his name indicates, warns the villagers of the unknown danger of stopping the yearly ritual. The irony here is that even though the old are know for being wise, Old Man Warner seems to be a very ignorant and superstitious being who blindly follows tradition. The names of all the prominent characters in The Lottery support the idea that everybody hides their evil nature by way of hypocrisy.

Tessie Hutchinsons character also provides considerable information on the theme of the story. Her name reminds one of the historical Anne Hutchinson not only because of the name but also because of the small town setting. Anne Hutchinson was a willing martyr who died for her religion and was exiled from her town. Tessie Hutchinson though may at first of the story appear to be a very good-natured and good human being by the way she comes in to the story. She comes in jokingly kidding with a friend of hers about how she almost forgot about the lottery but as soon as she remembered came running.

Tessie seems to be a willing participant at the start but when her familys mane is drawn she shows her true nature. Instead of trying to protect her children she instead demands that her married daughter take part in the drawing just to improve her own chances of survival. Mrs. Hutchinson is a perfect example of how evil exists in everyone and when pushed it can take a mother to risk her own childs safety. The symbolism found in the black box is a key point in understanding the importance of tradition in the theme of The Lottery. The introduction of the black box into the story changes the mood and atmosphere of the crowd of people.

The reason being that the box is what holds the key between life and death for each and every one of them. The black box embodies all the evil acts executed in the past and the ones to come. Even the color of the box is a symbol for evil. The box is painted in black, which has always been a universal symbol for evil and death. The box is also described to have been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village (311). The villagers refused Mr.

Summers request of making a new box but they were so stuck in the tradition that they did not want anything to upset it. Helen E. Nebeker states that in the box symbol, Jackson certainly suggests the body of tradition which the dead hand of the past codified in religion, mores, government, and the rest of culture, and passed from generation to generation, letting it grow ever more cumbersome, and indefensible (104). By showing the reader that the lottery has become a meaningless cat that people ignorantly follow driven by their own evilness, Jackson has proven the theme found in the story.